Fitness and figure competition is a class of physique events for women bearing a close resemblance to female bodybuilding, but with significantly less emphasis on muscle size. These competitions are frequently held as part of the same event as bodybuilding contests.
Fitness and figure are two distinct forms of competition. However, the physique guidelines are similar, and many women cross over from one to the other.
Fitness competition Edit
Fitness competition consists of a [swimsuit] round and a routine round. In the swimsuit round, the competitors wear two-piece swimsuits with high heels, and present their physiques with a series of quarter or half turns. Physique guidelines for fitness typically indicate a preference for a small amount of muscularity with separation, but no visible striations or excessive leanness. The swimsuit must cover at least fifty percent of the gluteus maximus muscle; no thongs or G-strings are allowed. The routine round requires a performance including aerobics, dance, or gymnastics.
Figure competition Edit
Figure competition is a newer division of fitness that excludes the fitness routine. The competitors are judged solely on symmetry and muscle tone, though as in fitness, with much less emphasis on muscle size than in bodybuilding. Figure competition is a good option for women who want to compete, but without the athletic demands of the fitness routines, and without building the extreme muscle needed for bodybuilding.
A typical figure competition includes two rounds, though this may vary depending on the organization. In the symmetry round, the competitors appear on stage in high heels and a one-piece swimsuit, in a straight line facing the judges. They execute a series of quarter turns to the right, allowing the judges to view and compare them from all sides for symmetry, presentation, and aesthetics such as skin tone, hair, make-up, suit selection, and shoe choice. In the next round, the group comparisons, the competitors come out again in high heels and a two-piece suit, execute a series of quarter turns and are judged more critically against the other competitors for conditioning and leanness, and feminine display of athletic muscle. Included in either of these rounds, or perhaps just the evening show, the competitors come out individually on stage for a model walk where they are judged on presentation, grace, confidence, poise, and professionalism.
The two most prestigious professional figure contests are the Figure Olympia and the Figure International. The 2003 Figure International was the first professional IFBB figure contest. The first NPC Figure Nationals were held in 2001.